Modified on: June 2024

Navigating the Tapered Annual Allowance in 2024/25: Essential Guide for High Earners

Navigating the Tapered Annual Allowance in the 2024/25 Tax Year

For high earners, mastering the nuances of the Tapered Annual Allowance is critical. With regulations evolving, staying updated is essential to optimally manage pension contributions and reduce tax burdens under the tapered pension allowance.


Tapered Annual Allowance: A Detailed Introduction

Since the Government introduced the tapered pension allowance on 6 April 2016, the tapered pension allowance has aimed to cap tax-free pension contributions for individuals with substantial earnings. This measure kicks in when both “threshold income” and “adjusted income” surpass specified benchmarks.


Significant Updates on the Tapered Pension Allowance:

  • From 6 April 2016: The introduction of the tapered pension allowance impacted those with a threshold income over £110,000 and an adjusted income over £150,000.
  • From 6 April 2020: Adjustments were made, applying the tapered pension allowance to individuals with threshold incomes over £200,000 and adjusted incomes over £240,000.
  • As of 6 April 2023: The current criteria set the threshold income and adjusted income limits at over £200,000 and £260,000, respectively.

The annual allowance decreases by £1 for every £2 of adjusted income above £260,000, with the minimum allowance being £10,000.


Understanding Threshold and Adjusted Income:

  • Threshold Income: Your taxable income before pension contributions. The tapered pension allowance is not applicable if this is £200,000 or below. Note, post-9 July 2015, salary sacrifices for pension contributions are considered.
  • Adjusted Income: Encompasses all taxable income plus employer pension contributions, including the total pension input amount minus any member contributions for defined benefit schemes.


How the Tapered Annual Allowance Works:

For those with an adjusted income under £260,000, the standard Pension Annual Allowance up to £60,000 is available. Adjusted incomes between £260,000 and £360,000 see a reduced allowance, with a floor of £10,000 for those exceeding £360,000.


Strategies for Managing the Tapered Annual Allowance:

  • Salary Adjustment: A feasible strategy to navigate the limits of the tapered pension allowance, though it subjects the extra salary to taxes.
  • Financial Planning: Essential for managing your tapered pension allowance effectively, avoiding unexpected tax liabilities.
  • Alternative Investments: ISAs and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) emerge as viable options for those affected by the tapered pension allowance.
  • Pension Carry Forward: Leverage unused pension allowances from the past three tax years to bolster your contributions without incurring penalties.

Consultation for Tapered Annual Allowance Concerns:

If you’re navigating the complexities of the tapered pension allowance, a pension consultation can help assess your situation and explore effective strategies. Staying informed and proactively managing your pension contributions can mitigate the impact of the tapered annual allowance.

Click here to schedule an initial consultation with a chartered pension adviser.

This article provides information about investing, but not personal advice. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please request advice.

Remember that investments can go up and down in value, you may get back less than you put in.

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